Michael J. Sullivan Portrait

Michael J. Sullivan is one of fantasy’s most prominent self-publishing success stories. His debut series, the Riyira Revelations, sold 90,000 units before Sullivan sold the publishing rights to Orbit Books in 2011. Since then, he’s been a poster boy for Hybrid Publishing, an approach that allows authors to leverage the strengths of both the traditional publishing model and self publishing to their advantage and the advantage of their readers.

Yesterday, Sullivan announced that he’s sold The First Empire, a new epic fantasy set in the same world as the Riyira Revelations to Del Rey. The deal includes the first four volumes of the series: Rhune, Dherg, Rhist and Phyre. I caught up with Sullivan to chat about the new series and his half-million dollar deal.

The First Empire series is based in the same world as the Riyria books, but it takes place several thousand years in the past,” Sullivan told me when I asked what the new series had to offer old fans. Read More »

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Publisher: Knopf - Pages: 352 - Buy: Book/eBook
Buy Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

We live in a world of fast-moving moral panics. A world where information moves literally at the speed of light, crossing oceans and wrapping the world in mere moments. Technology connects us all, but it is also a tool, willing or unwilling, that embeds in us a fear of the world we live in. Turmoil in a country thousands of miles away plasters our social networks, convincing us that our own corner of the world is meant for similar fates, though even ten years ago we would not have heard rumblings of the news for hours, fifty years ago it might have taken days, and before that weeks, years. Information and panic sweeps through us as quickly as keystrokes are entered into a social network.

What if an deadly illness moved that so fast? What if it was as bad as we all feared? What if it was worse?. Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven ponders that question. An illness sweeps through a society wracked by their own fears and doubts. The world that awaits the few survivors, a world without advanced technology, societal borders, and laws, is recognized not for what it promises but for what was lost. “I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth,” opines Dr. Eleven, a comic book character who dwells on the titular space station, early in novel. Regret lies heavy at the heart of Mandel’s post-apocalyptic tale. But, beside it — a beacon of hope — is nostalgia. Read More »

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I seldom felt that this fiction resonated with my experience of South Africa

South African speculative fiction is single-handedly responsible for getting me interested in my own country’s fiction. If you’re from the US or UK you’ve probably never thought of the novels from your country as being largely monolithic or just completely avoided all of them on the assumption that they would be dreary. But that’s exactly how I felt.

Because we were in school after the change in government, many people in my generation seem to have grown up thinking of local fiction as synonymous with the kinds of depressingly tragic political books you were forced to read for class. Books about racism, poverty, apartheid  – that’s how I’ve often heard them described. South African books were grim, weighty things. Important and well-crafted maybe, but they offered no pleasure or entertainment. For the few who liked reading (we don’t have a strong reading culture) all the books you could actually enjoy came from somewhere else. Read More »

Art by Larry Rostant

Tor.com announced today the upcoming release of the Mystic trilogy by Jason Denzel, longtime Robert Jordan fan and found of Wheel of Time megasite Dragonmount. On first glance, Denzel’s trilogy appears to be in the classic ’80s mould of epic fantasy that will be sure to appeal to fans of Jordan, Katharine Kerr, and Terry Brooks, or more contemporary authors like Brent Weeks and Kate Elliott.

Here’s the early rundown:

The Mystic trilogy will tell the story of Pomella, a restless teenager who leaves her village to apprentice herself to a mysterious Mystic – even though the law forbids it. After lying about her caste, she must undergo severe trials against nobles to prove her worthiness. Far more dangerous, however, is the conspiracy she finds: someone is plotting to murder her and the Mystic!

As founder of Dragonmount, the largest Wheel of Time fansite on the Internet, Denzel has had a long professional relationship with Tor Books via Robert Jordan’s long-running series.

“Having the opportunity to publish my stories through Tor is a dream come true,” Denzel told Tor.com. “For over a decade I’ve had the pleasure of frequently collaborating with their team to celebrate Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Now, thanks to the trust they’ve shown me, I get to tell my stories in my own style and voice. I look forward to sharing the Mystic trilogy with everyone, and getting the chance to connect with new fans.”

The first volume of the trilogy, Mystic, will be released on November 3rd, 2015. It followed by the remaining volumes, Mystic Dragon and Mystic Skies, at a later date. The cover art for the trilogy will be illustrated by Larry Rostant.

OstenArd.com, reporting on an announcement by Tad Williams’ wife and business partner, Deborah Beale, revealed that Williams has completed work on the first draft of The Witchwood Crown. This novel is the first volume of The Last King of Osten Ard trilogy, a follow-up to Williams’ genre-defining epic fantasy trilogy Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Aside from one short story, “The Burning Man”, this is the first time that Williams has returned to the world of Osten Ard since publishing the final volume of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn in 1993.

The Witchwood Crown is expected to be published in Spring 2016,” OstenArd.com said. “[It] will be followed by Empire of Grass and The Navigator’s Children.” Williams has previously announced that legendary artist Michael Whelan, who painted the covers for Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, will be responsible for the cover art for the North American edition of the trilogy from DAW Books.